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Vatican says it won't bail out U.S. dioceses. (Church In Crisis).

If a U.S. diocese gets into financial trouble because of legal settlements over clerical sexual abuse, it will have to turn to other dioceses for help, not to the Vatican, said a top church official.

"It's not the practice of the Holy See to bail out dioceses," said U.S. Cardinal Edmund C. Szoka president of the commission that governs the Vatican City State.

"In the past, when dioceses have suffered financial problems -- not related to sex-abuse lawsuits -- other dioceses have helped them with no-interest loans. It's their responsibility," he told Business Week Online.

Szoka, who headed the Vatican's budget planning office from 1990 to 1997, said it would be contrary to the church's "structure" for the Vatican to assist dioceses financially.

In its April 15 issue, Business Week magazine cited estimates by plaintiffs' lawyers that U.S. dioceses have spent as much as $1 billion in sex-abuse settlements since 1985.

"Became the Vatican depends so heavily on U.S. contributions," it said, "a few financially crippling jury awards at the parish level could send a ripple effect all the way to Rome."

Szoka told Business Week that U.S. dioceses "will soon overtake" the German church as largest contributor in coveting the Holy See's operating costs.
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Publication:National Catholic Reporter
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 19, 2002
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